Friday, January 9, 2009

Comparison Made Easy

I have read the comments on Malcolm's and blogpastor's blog regarding Rev PK's antinomianism article and some seem to be suggesting that it may have been an innocent mistake as they saw the usage of quotation marks at many passages and thought that maybe Rev PK was just quoting from the original article without attributing the source.

Let's do a side-by-side comparison of the first five paragraphs (Rev PK first, followed by the original) and I will highlight similar or identical phrases in the same colour:

As human beings, we are naturally inclined towards the "easy life" and we cleverly devise ways that will help us to achieve such a life. For instance, 'dieting made easy' attracts us because it seems to mean we can eat all we want and yet stay slim. 'Exercise made easy' appeals to us because it seems to mean we can accomplish the benefits of physical exercise, but without the sweat.

In the same way, in our spiritual life, we also like to have 'salvation made easy', which means we are able to go to heaven while still living in sin. In other words, we want to have our cake and eat it too! In our city today, there are churches packed with people who love this 'salvation made easy' theology and this is the subject of this article - antinomianism. Antinomianism refers to lawlessness and the concept of 'salvation made easy'. The "sales pitch" for this is — "You lose nothing while you are on your way to heaven. You can be lawless and go to heaven."

Antinomianism comes from two Greek words: "anti" which means "against" and "nomos" which means "law". The word "antinomianism" means "against the law", against God's moral law, or lawlessness. It is the doctrine that faith in Christ frees the Christian from obligation to observe the moral law set out in the Old Testament.

The opposite of antinomianism is legalism and it is the belief that salvation is based on good works apart from faith and apart from grace. Jesus condemned this view of the Pharisees. Paul condemned this view of the Judaizers, especially in the books of Galatians and Romans. Antinomianism, on the other hand, says salvation is based on faith in God and therefore obedience to God's law is not necessary at any stage in a Christian's life.

The two extreme opposite concepts of legalism and antinomianism are both totally opposed to the teaching of the Bible.

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Today I will speak on the subject of antinomianism. Antinomianism comes from two Greek words: anti means against and nomos means law. So antinomianism means against the law, against God's moral law. It means lawlessness.

You know,
Americans are a people who are interested in making life easier, and so we devise technologies that assist us in our pursuit of happiness and our pursuit of easy living. Americans like anything that is made easy. Dieting made easy means you can eat all you want and be slim. Exercise made easy means you can discipline your body while sleeping. Without sweating you can accomplish the benefits of physical exercise. So also we have salvation made easy, and Americans enjoy this salvation made easy. In other words, you can go to heaven while sinning. You can have your cake and eat it too. So
churches are being packed with people who love this salvation made easy, and that is our subject today. Antinomianism, lawlessness is salvation made easy. The sales pitch is this, that you lose nothing while you are on your way to heaven. You can be lawless and go to heaven.

Now you may have heard of legalism. Legalism is the opposite of antinomianism. Legalism says that salvation is based on human good works apart from faith and apart from grace. Jesus condemned this view of the Pharisees. Paul condemned this view of the Judaizers, especially in the books of Galatians and Romans. But antinomianism says salvation is based on faith in God and therefore obedience to God's law is not necessary at any stage in a Christian's life. So these are two opposite ideas, legalism and antinomianism, which are totally opposed to the teaching of the Bible.

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It should be obvious to all now that the first 5 paragraphs of Rev PK's article was merely rephrasing and rearranging the paragraphs of the original article.  In fact, I almost ran out of colours to bring out the similarities.

I am not doing this comparison to attack Rev PK personally.  I merely want to shock those who are trying to rationalize this episode as an innocent mistake because Rev PK is a pastor, a man of God into looking at the facts objectively.

All through history there have been occasions when men of God have done wrong, even Abraham who lied about Sarah not being his wife.  Let us not be in denial but acknowledge that a wrong has been commited in this instance.  Our faith should not be shaken by this because our faith is in God, not man and Jesus is our ultimate standard, not man.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28)  Perhaps now is the perfect time for Rev PK to experience the grace of God. 


4 comments:

Malcolm Loh said...

Hi Stan

Yes, let's call a spade a spade, and not try to whitewash what was obviously a wrongdoing.

But, at the same time, let us also remember what makes Christians different -- the world will know us as His disciples by our love for one another.

I remember what Rev Dr Wee Boon Hup (my church's previous senior pastor and now TRAC President -- the one overseeeing all the English-speaking Methodist churches) told me when we had lunch 2 years ago. When someone falls, the world will say, "He deserved it", but as Christians, we should be there to help pick up the pieces.

Let's continue to keep Rev Peter Koh in our prayers. After all, if God could transform the Pharisee of Pharisees into His grace gospel messenger, there is no reason why He can't do the same with the senior pastor of my church.

Stanley Wong said...

Hi Mal,

I was at your blog just now and it is disappointing to see a student of a theological college explain that Rev PK used quite a few quotation marks in the excerpts that I compared, thus indicating that Rev PK was quoting someone.

Mal, do you think i should read a book review done by someone with that level of analytical skill?

Perhaps it is not really a lack of analytical ability but rather a lack of gumption to call a spade a spade.

Malcolm Loh said...

That's what is called "closing ranks".

Both were probably from the same bible school, so he feels the need to find excuses for his fellow alumnus :-D

Maybe we should start praying for bible schools that they will produce graduates who not just have head knowledge of the scriptures, but basic human virtues such as integrity and honesty.

Stanley Wong said...

Hi Mal,

I just read the write-up on Rev Koh that you had uploaded, and yes they are from the same bible school.